Minnesota Timberwolves 2013 NBA Draft Player Profile - Ben McLemore
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Article

Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore

KANSAS
Year: Freshman
Position: Shooting Guard
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 185 lbs.
Editor’s Note: Throughout the month of June, Timberwolves.com will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 9 or 26 picks, or if they choose to move up during the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Part V takes a look at consensus Top 3 pick Ben McLemore, the standout freshman shooting guard from Kansas that could end up as the top overall pick.

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Mock Draft Projections: 1st round, picks 1 through 3

2012-13 Season: 15.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, .495 FG%, .420 3FG%

It didn’t take long for college hoops fans to realize Ben McLemore is a Top 3 talent in this year’s NBA Draft. He showcased his abilities from Day 1 at Kansas and helped the Jayhawks to a share of the Big 12 regular season title and the conference tournament championship as a freshman. He had such a big impact, that Kansas coach Bill Self recognized McLemore—a freshman—on Senior Night at Allen Fieldhouse.

There is little debate that McLemore will be off the board early—likely competing with Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Georgetown’s Otto Porter in a game of top 3 musical chairs. While Noel was widely viewed as the No. 2 overall selection for much of the season, his torn ACL in February did open up the debate. Should McLemore be selected with the top pick—currently owned by Cleveland—he would be the first shooting guard taken first overall since David Thompson in 1975.

This draft is full of shooting guards with size, perimeter shooting and aggressive defense, but the 20-year-old freshman still remains atop the list as the best of the group. He averaged 15.9 points per game last year, shot 49.5 percent from the field and added 42.0 percent shooting from 3-point range. That type of productivity made him an incredibly desirable wing contributor.

McLemore, who said the best current NBA comparison to his strengths is Ray Allen, said at the combine he understands he could be the first shooting guard in nearly 40 years to be taken first overall, and he’s relishing this ride to the Draft.

“It’s great—I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and now that I’m here I just have to keep working,” he said in Chicago. “This is just a blessing, just the opportunity to be here at the combine and know I’m going to be able to take care of my family.”

McLemore had a collection of offensive outburst this season, scoring 20 or more points 11 times and eclipsing 30 points three times. He had 36 points on 12-of-15 shooting against West Virginia on March 2—including a 5-of-6 performance from 3-point range. That came after a 30-point, six 3-pointer effort against Kansas State on Feb. 11 and a 33-point, 6-for-6 3-point showing against Iowa State on Jan. 9. He shot 50.0 percent or better from the field in 17 of his 37 games, including 60.0 percent or better eight times and 80 percent or better four times.

STRENGTHS

McLemore has excellent athleticism. He has quickness on both ends of the court, he has explosiveness to the basket and he can throw down highlight-reel dunks through putting the ball on the floor or receiving lobs. Part of the reason he can attack the rim with such aggression is he has a strong first step. From the perimeter, McLemore can shoot with high efficiency. He was able to catch and shoot very well at Kansas, and often he connected from NBA 3-point range. On seven different occasions this year he hit four or more 3-pointers, and that 42.0 percent efficiency playing Kansas’ gauntlet of non-conference, Big 12 and postseason opponents suggests he can get his shot off against top-notch talent. Defensively, he can cover a lot of ground. Opponents had trouble shooting at a high percentage against him throughout the season.

WEAKNESSES

The biggest weakness in McLemore’s game might be his inexperience in the pick-and-roll game. He played in an incredibly disciplined system at Kansas, but it’s one that did not showcase him being able to work out of the screen-and-roll or as an isolation player. With so many teams using pick-and-roll at the NBA level, it will be a part of McLemore’s game he’ll need to focus on. Being able to hit shots off the dribble with higher efficiency is also a spot where McLemore can improve. And although he has great athleticism and can get to the basket, doing so more frequently is something he’ll need to take into consideration as a shooting guard at the next level. At 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, he'll need to add strength to handle the physicality of the NBA, but he's 20 years old and has time to accomplish that.

THEY SAID IT

“I don’t really put much thought on that. Just whoever picks me, I have to go in there and do what I’m supposed to do—go in there and work each and every day. Work and experience new things, bond with the coaches and the staff and the players, too.” —Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore

WHAT HE CAN BRING TO THE WOLVES

Clearly if the Timberwolves are interested in McLemore, they’ll need to make a deal to get a shot at him. And with good reason. McLemore is a talent all over the court and has the tools Minnesota is looking for in a shooting guard right away—he can shoot the lights out and get to the rim, plus he has size and quickness on the defensive end. The Wolves are making it known they want more shooters on their team heading into next season, and McLemore could fill that need. The question lies in whether or not it’s too steep a price to make a leap up that high to get him.

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Time Draft Picks

Year
Player
Pos.
School
Rd / Pick
Ht / Wt
Class
2012
Robbie Hummel
F
Purdue
2 / 58
6'8" / 215
Sr
2011
Derrick Williams
F
Arizona
1 / 2
6'8" / 248
So

Donatas Motiejunas
F/C
Italy
1 / 20
7'0" / 222
Int'l
2010
Wesley Johnson
G/F
Syracuse
1 / 4
6'7" / 215
Jr
Luke Babbitt
F
Nevada
1 / 16
6'9" / 225
So
Trevor Booker
F
Clemson
1 / 23
6'8" / 240
Sr
Paulo Prestes
C
Brazil
2 / 45
6'11" / 260
Int'l
Hamady Ndiaye
C
Rutgers
2 / 56
7'0" / 235
Sr
2009
Ricky Rubio
G
Spain
1 / 5
6'4" / 180
Int'l

Jonny Flynn
G
Syracuse
1 / 6
6'0" / 185
So

Ty Lawson
G
North Carolina
1 / 18
5'11" / 195
Jr

Wayne Ellington
G
North Carolina
1 / 28
6'4" / 200
Jr

Nick Calathes
G
Florida
2 / 45
6'6" / 194
So

Henk Norel
F
Netherlands
2 / 47
6'10" / 230
Int'l
2008
OJ Mayo
G
USC
1 / 3
6'4" / 200
Fr
Nikola Pekovic
C
Montenegro
2 / 31
6'11" / 265
Int
Mario Chalmers
G
Kansas
2 / 34
6'1" / 190
Jr
2007
Corey Brewer
F
Florida
1 / 7
6'9" / 185
Jr

Chris Richard
F
Florida
2 / 41
6'9" / 255
Sr
2006
Brandon Roy
G
Washington
1 / 6
6'6" / 215
Sr

Craig Smith
F
Boston College
2 / 36
6'7" / 250
Sr

Bobby Jones
F
Washington
2 / 37
6'7" / 215
Sr

Loukas Mavrokefalidis
F
Greece
2 / 57
6'11" / 260
Int'l
2005
Rashad McCants
G
North Carolina
1 / 14
6'4" / 207
Jr

Bracey Wright
G
Indiana
2 / 47
6'3" / 210
Jr
2004
Blake Stepp
G
Gonzaga
2 / 58
6'4" / 194
Sr
2003
Ndudi Ebi
F
Westbury Christian H.S.
1 / 26
6'9" / 195
HS

Rick Rickert
F
Minnesota
2 / 55
6'11" / 215
So
2002
Marcus Taylor
G
Michigan State
2 / 52
6'3" / 195
So
2001
Loren Woods
C
Arizona
2 / 46
7'1" / 245
Sr
2000
Igor Rakocevic
G
Yugoslavia
2 / 51
6'2" / 184
Int
1999
Wally Szczerbiak
F
Miami (Ohio)
1 / 6
6'7" / 244
Sr

William Avery
G
Duke
1 / 14
6'2" / 180
So

Louis Bullock
G
Michigan
2 / 42
6'2" / 180
Sr
1998
Rasho Nesterovic
C
Slovenia
1 / 17
7'0" / 248
Int

Andrae Patterson
F
Indiana
2 / 46
6'9" / 240
Sr
1997
Paul Grant
C
Wisconsin
1 / 20
7'0" / 245
Sr

Gordon Malone
F
West Virginia
2 / 44
6'11" / 215
Jr
1996
Ray Allen
G
Connecticut
1 / 5
6'5" / 205
Jr
1995
Kevin Garnett
F
Farragut Academy H.S.
1 / 5
6'11" / 220
HS

Mark Davis
F
Texas Tech
2 / 48
6'7" / 210
Sr

Jerome Allen
G
Pennsylvania
2 / 49
6'4" / 184
Sr
1994
Donyell Marshall
F
Connecticut
1 / 4
6'9" / 220
Jr

Howard Eisley
G
Boston College
2 / 30
6'3" / 180
Sr
1993
Isaiah Rider
G
UNLV
1 / 5
6'5" / 215
Sr

Sherron Mills
F
Virginia Commonwealth
2 / 29
6'9"
Sr
1992
Christian Laettner
F
Duke
1 / 3
6'11" / 235
Sr

Marlon Maxey
F
UTEP
2 / 28
6'8" / 250
Sr

Chris Smith
G
Connecticut
2 / 34
6'3" / 191
Sr

Tim Burroughs
F
Jacksonville
2 / 51
6'8"
Sr
1991
Luc Longley
C
New Mexico
1 / 7
7'2" / 265
Sr/Int

Myron Brown
G
Slippery Rock
2 / 34
6'3" / 180
Sr
1990
Felton Spencer
C
Louisville
1 / 6
7'0" / 265
Sr

Gerald Glass
G
Mississippi
1 / 20
6'6" / 221
Sr
1989
Pooh Richardson
G
UCLA
1 / 10
6'1" / 186
Sr

Gary Leonard
C
Missouri
2 / 34
7'1" / 246
Sr

Doug West
G
Villanova
2 / 38
6'6" / 200
Sr

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